Airtel Payments Bank, India’s first payments bank, today said that it has opened over one and a half lakh (150,000) savings accounts in West Bengal since its launch. Approximately 70% of these accounts have been opened in rural areas, thereby, contributing to financial inclusion in the State.
Airtel Payments Bank, a fully digital and paperless bank, aims to take basic banking services to the doorstep of every Indian by leveraging Airtel’s vast retail network. In West Bengal, over 21,000 neighbourhood Airtel retail stores also function as banking points, and customers can open savings accounts, deposit and withdraw cash across any of these banking points. Majority of these banking points across the State are in rural areas, helping in extending the reach of services to unbanked regions.
Airtel payments Bank’s bouquet of innovative and convenient services include:
• Digital Banking: Quick and paperless account opening using Aadhaar based e-KYC. This requires no documents at all, only the customer’s Aadhaar number is needed.
• The customer’s mobile number will be his/her bank account number.
• Interest rate of 7.25 % p.a. on deposits in savings accounts, the highest in India.
• One minute of Airtel mobile talk-time for every Rupee deposited at the time of opening a savings account.
• Money transfer to any bank account in India (Free money transfer from Airtel-to-Airtel numbers within Airtel Payments Bank).
• Free Personal Accidental Insurance of Rs. 1 Lac with every Savings Account.
• Easy deposit and withdrawal facility across a wide network of Airtel retail outlets.
• USSD and IVR in 12 languages for non-smartphone customers.
• An online debit card in partnership with MasterCard.
Airtel Payments Bank’s services can be accessed by customers on their feature phones as well through USSD by dialing *400#; or via a simple IVR by dialing 400. Both the USSD & IVR options are available in 12 local languages. Customers can also access services by dialing 88006-88006 in addition to visiting any designated Airtel retail outlet to access services (and not just the outlet where they have opened the account).
Shashi Arora, MD & CEO – Airtel Payments Bank said, “We are pleased with the encouraging response our services have received from customers across West Bengal. Given Airtel’s deep distribution reach across the State, we have been able to take our banking services to unbanked regions. We will continue to build on this momentum and contribute to financial inclusion in the State.”
Digital Payments Ecosystem
Airtel Payments Bank is developing a nationwide merchant ecosystem of over five million partners including small kirana stores, grocers, pharmacies, restaurants, etc. It is also enabling a large network of merchant across West Bengal. Leading retail outlets/chains like Spencers, Khadims, Manyavar, Bazaar Kolkata, Aarambagh Foodmart, Bhojohori Manna and Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick will now accept digital payments from Airtel Payments Bank customers over mobile phones.
Airtel Payments Bank will not charge any processing fee from its customers and merchants partners for digital transactions, thereby encouraging them to adopt cashless payments.
Airtel Payments Bank has enabled over 100 villages across West Bengal to go cashless as part of its endeavor to take its banking services deep into rural/unbanked areas and contribute to financial inclusion in the country. These villages now have access to basic banking services and the option of making digital payments, making them less reliant on cash.
• Every village now has at least one Airtel Payment Bank outlet that provides convenient banking services including cash deposits and withdrawals
• Majority of the village households now have a savings account with Airtel Payments Bank and can bank/transact even with basic feature phones.
• Merchants/shops in the village accept digital payments via mobile phones from Airtel Payments Bank customers.
• In addition, farmers/small artisans in the village have been trained to accept digital payments for their produce/goods/services.
Residents of these villages no longer have to travel huge distances to access a bank and no longer need to keep their money at home and worry about its safety. They are also able to earn a healthy interest rate on their savings deposits. Most households in these villages have one or more family member working in cities/towns across the country and they can now receive money transfers from family members/friends conveniently. Airtel Payments Bank aims to enable 5000 villages across India to go cashless under this initiative.
Airtel Payments Bank currently has a network of over 250,000 neighbourhood Airtel retail stores, which also function as banking points. This is more than the total number of ATMs in the country. The Bank aims to scale its network to 600,000 banking points. Airtel Payments Bank has committed an investment of Rs. 3000 crore across its national operations.